I read a post recently that said blacks need to stop blaming white people for everything that's wrong in their lives. I am in total agreement with that statement, HOWEVER,there's no getting around the fact that whites are more likely to consider their own when it comes to hiring, referrals and doing business in general.
According to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, black men and women are 50 percent more likely to attempt a business start-up than their white counterparts, but the numbers show many of those new black businesses never get off the ground. And for those that do actually start, they are not growing as quickly or as big as white-owned companies.
A 2008 MIT study set out to determine why Asians and Whites outperformed blacks in the marketplace. The conclusion: Blacks fail because they have fewer opportunities. And why do we have fewer opportunities? Here are some of my reasons:
You're not a part of the clique: If you do any networking in your local community, you will probably find there are certain groups of people who are always together. They travel in packs and support each other. They don't mind you coming to one of their networking meetings or events (where you pay them money) but when it comes to supporting your events or inviting you to special gatherings that are more personable, you tend to be excluded. I tried being a part of the "in" crowd once but I discovered I was more of an OUTSIDER than an INSIDER.
They don't know, like AND trust you: They may know and like you but TRUST is major. It's one thing to purchase a $19.95 book you may have written but it's another thing to fork over $1,995 for your service. Another thing is they are quick to compare you to their "good black friends" and if you don't measure up, you're not going to make their list of the "likeables."
You don't get referrals: Recently on Facebook, someone posted a thread looking for speakers. I read through the recommendations and didn't see the name of one black person. I recommended myself and proceeded to question why there were no blacks on the list. NO RESPONSE from the author of that post, however, my friend Felicia Slattery (who got lots of referrals in that thread) did speak up and recommend me but that fell on deaf ears. Bottom line is, if they don't know, like and trust you, they sure as hell aren't going to refer you know matter how good you are and how well you deliver your service.
You live in the South: I actually had someone tell me this a few years ago. She was commenting on how different the Triangle of NC was from the rest of the country. "It isn't you Beverly. It's just the way they are down here" is what she said. So I guess that means if I'm not cleaning your house or taking care of your children, I am of no value to you. It doesn't matter that I have a college education and can speak AND write better than you.
There's already one (or maybe two) "token" black business owners in their circle and they're comfortable enough with that. Along with that, there are some blacks who don't want to give up their "token" crown. In some cases, we are our own worst enemies. We will cut each other down in front of whites just to be that "one good black person who isn't like all the rest."
We're judged by the company we keep: “Be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you. Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” – W. Clement Stone
Finally, we don't do enough to support each other.